From A to Z

Analyzing the Top Decks from Madison and Birmingham and Previewing Popularity for Mexico City

Hola a todos (Hello everyone)! Mexico City Regionals is going to take place this weekend, and I couldn’t be more excited! It’s the first (and only) major event for us this season, and I’m really happy to know that we’re getting quite a few high caliber players come down to play as well.

We’ve had 2 consecutive crazy weekends of Regionals with completely different and cool results. We had Seattle two weekends ago, then Madison, Birmingham and Santiago all this past weekend. They’re all certainly going to impact the metagame going into Mexico. Seattle showed us the new “boss” in town, Garbodor GRI, which took up 75% of both the Day 2 and Top 8 cuts. Sam Chen ended up winning the event with his Garbodor GRI/Drampa-GX deck, and these results would pave way to a whole new way of building decks that we saw in Madison and Birmingham.

The Madison and Birmingham results show not only that a metagame can change very rapidly, but that Garbodor GRI is not a ban-worthy card as some people were calling for. Yes, it is very powerful if you play carelessly, but the lists from the Top 8 cut show how to deal with Garbodor GRI in some very creative ways.

The Top 8 results from the Madison and Birmingham Regional Championships were as follows:

Madison, WI

1. Michael Pramawat – Vespiquen AOR/Zoroark BKT
2. Christopher SchemanskeMetagross-GX/Dhelmise GRI
3. Daniel AltavillaZoroark BREAK/Drampa-GX
4. Colin PeterikEspeon-GX/Garbodor GRI
5. Aaron TarbellDecidueye-GX/Vileplume AOR/Alolan Ninetales-GX
6. Jimmy Pendarvis – Vespiquen AOR/Zoroark BKT
7. Azul Garcia GriegoVolcanion-EX/Starmie EVO
8. Charlie LockyerVikavolt SUM/Tapu Bulu-GX

Birmingham, UK

1. Alex Dao – Gyarados AOR
2. Brian Peach – Zoroark BREAK/Drampa-GX
3. Philipp Emmerich – Vikavolt SUM/Tapu Bulu-GX
4. Tobias Thesing – Alolan/Ninetales-GX
5. Benjamin Martinsen – Garbodor GRI/Drampa-GX
6. Nico Alabas – Darkrai-EX/Yveltal XY
7. Tobi Woolner – Alolan/Ninetales-GX
8. Öjvind Svinhufvud – Darkrai-EX/Yveltal XY

I’m going to go through each deck, break it down, and evaluate how much of it I expect to see in Mexico based on living here all my life.

Busy Bees: Vespiquen AOR/Zoroark BKT

Pokémon – 27

4 Combee AOR

4 Vespiquen AOR 10

1 Zorua BKT 89

1 Zorua BKT 90

2 Zoroark BKT

1 Eevee AOR

1 Eevee SUM

1 Flareon AOR

1 Vaporeon AOR

2 Shaymin-EX ROS

2 Tapu Lele-GX

4 Unown AOR

2 Klefki STS

1 Oranguru SUM

Trainers – 29

4 Professor Sycamore

2 Lysandre

1 N

 

4 VS Seeker

4 Ultra Ball

4 Acro Bike

2 Choice Band

2 Float Stone

2 Special Charge

1 Revitalizer

1 Rescue Stretcher

 

2 Forest of Giant Plants

Energy – 4

4 Double Colorless

This is Michael Pramawat’s 1st place list, and I must say it’s beautiful. It combines consistency with techs and when you combine that with an incredibly skilled player, you get a five time Regional Champion. Michael made a few significant changes from Jeffrey’s 2nd place Seattle list by including the eeveelution line with Vaporeon AOR and Flareon AOR. The former provided extra help against Volcanion-EX/Turtonator-GX based decks, such as Azul’s, and gave Michael a lot more leeway in the amount of Pokémon in the discard or on the Bench required for Vespiquen AOR or Zoroark BKT.

Flareon AOR allowed Michael to combat the unprecedented Metagross-GX deck much more effectively, as 250 HP is an incredibly hard number, if not impossible despite Choice Band, for Vespiquen to hit. Other interesting things to note are the single N, as I consider it to be a very risky play in a deck where resource management is so important. Michael also played the extra Choice Band and Float Stone, of which Jeffrey’s finalist deck only ran 1-of each. I think the only change I would make is to drop a VS Seeker for an N, simply because playing 1 seems too risky to me.

Likeliness to see this deck in Mexico City? Not very likely. Vespiquen showed up at the beginning of the season as a way to counter me and my Greninja deck. Ever since I stopped playing it, Vespiquen never came back, and despite the results, I wouldn’t expect it to appear in big numbers, though it might be used by high caliber players as a “safe” choice.

Metagross-GX/Dhelmise GRI

Pokémon – 15

4 Beldum GRI

3 Metang GRI

4 Metagross-GX

2 Tapu Lele-GX

1 Dhelmise GRI

1 Alolan Vulpix GRI

Trainers – 35

4 Professor Sycamore

3 N

2 Lysandre

1 Karen

1 Brigette

1 Professor Kukui

1 Hex Maniac

1 Olympia

 

4 VS Seeker

4 Ultra Ball

4 Choice Band

3 Max Potion

3 Rare Candy

2 Field Blower

1 Rescue Stretcher

Energy – 10

8 M

2 P

This is our very own Christopher’s list. He found an incredibly powerful deck and a great meta call with the huge decrease in Volcanion-EX decks in the metagame. If you manage to set up enough Metagross-GX, it becomes a self-sustaining engine where your opponent will find it very hard to take KOs due to the high HP and Max Potion combination.

4 Choice Band and the Professor Kukui, along with the single Dhelmise GRI, allow you to buff up the damage to hit critical numbers, but he mentioned in his report that he would make a few changes to deck if he were to play it again. The deck is powerful and deals really well with Garbodor thanks to the Alolan Vulpix, as it lets you set up without Item cards, and Metagross’ sheer mass.

Likeliness to see this deck in Mexico City? Once again, not very likely to see this deck show up in big numbers, if at all, simply because it’s so new and people aren’t too familiar with it yet. I also know Volcanion-EX will be a big part of Mexico’s metagame simply because of it being one of the cheapest and more accessible decks available so I wouldn’t personally recommend running it.

Zoroark BREAK/Drampa-GX

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Pokémon – 17

4 Zorua BKT 89

4 Zoroark BKT

3 Zoroark BREAK

2 Drampa-GX

2 Tapu Lele-GX

1 Remoraid BKT 32

1 Octillery BKT

Trainers – 32

3 Professor Sycamore

3 N

2 Professor Kukui

2 Lysandre

2 Brigette

1 Delinquent

1 Hala

1 Hex Maniac

1 Teammates

 

4 VS Seeker

4 Ultra Ball

3 Choice Band

2 Rescue Stretcher

2 Float Stone

1 Special Charge

Energy – 11

4 D

4 Double Colorless

3 Rainbow

This is Brian Peach’s list, and it’s interesting to note that this and the Vikavolt decks are the only ones to show up in both Top 8 cuts. Zoroark seems to have become incredibly good out of the blue, but there’s definitely good reasoning behind this. We now have two support Pokémon which take up Bench spots, Tapu Lele-GX and Shaymin-EX, and even if some decks are dropping Shaymin-EX completely, they make up for this with 2-3 Tapu Lele-GX’s.

Combine this with setting up multiple Stage 1’s or Stage 2 attackers and you have Zoroark dealing maximum damage almost every single turn, with Choice Band helping it achieve those key 180-190 benchmarks vs basic EX and GX. Drampa-GX is simply a solid and splashable card in anything that runs DCE, as it provides high damage output with Berserk, disruption with Righteous Edge, and draw power with Big Wheel-GX. After playing with the deck, I definitely don’t think there are enough opportunities to use the GX attack, thus Hala seems out of place. I would replace it with the 4th Rainbow Energy, as 12 seems like a very solid amount.

Likeliness to see this deck in Mexico City? I wouldn’t be surprised to see this deck have a decent showing in Mexico. It’s relatively cheap to build, with Tapu Lele-GX as the most expensive part, making it a bit more accesible than any Shaymin-EX decks. It hits hard and fast with very few Energy.

Decidueye-GX/Vileplume AOR

Pokémon – 27

4 Rowlet SUM

4 Dartrix SUM

4 Decidueye-GX

2 Oddish AOR

2 Gloom AOR

2 Vileplume AOR

3 Alolan Vulpix GRI

2 Alolan Ninetales-GX

2 Tapu Lele-GX

1 Shaymin-EX ROS

1 Espeon-EX

Trainers – 25

4 Professor Sycamore

4 N

3 Lysandre

1 Brigette

 

4 Ultra Ball

2 Float Stone

2 Revitalizer

1 Field Blower

 

4 Forest of Giant Plants

Energy – 8

4 G

4 Double Colorless

I unfortunately haven’t been able to find Aaron Tarbell’s list, so this is my best guess at it. Alolan Vulpix and Alolan Ninetales-GX give the deck an extra layer of support, not only with a nice offensive GX attack, but a support attack in Beacon. Beacon allows you to set up your Decidueye-GX’s much more easily under Item lock, and thus is a great starter for the deck. Space is extremely tight, as can be seen from the list, and Brigette replaces Level Ball completely, though I’m not sure that’s the best way to go about it. I would consider dropping the 4th grass for a 2nd Brigette.

Likeliness to see this deck in Mexico City? It definitely won’t show up in high numbers. However, I expect people who invested into Decidueye/Vileplume back when it was considered the best deck in the format will be happy to adapt theirs with Alolan Ninetales-GX and Tapu Lele-GX.

Vikavolt SUM/Tapu Bulu-GX

Pokémon – 16

3 Grubbin SUM

2 Charjabug SUM

3 Vikavolt SUM

3 Tapu Bulu-GX

3 Tapu Lele-GX

1 Tapu Koko SM30

1 Drampa-GX

Trainers – 32

4 Professor Sycamore

3 N

2 Lysandre

1 Skyla

1 Brigette

1 Olympia

1 Brock’s Grit

 

4 Ultra Ball

2 Heavy Ball

3 Rare Candy

3 VS Seeker

2 Field Blower

2 Float Stone

2 Choice Band

1 Energy Recycler

Energy – 12

7 G

5 L

This is Charlie’s Top 8 list from Madison and this is where things start to get really interesting. All of the Pokémon from Charlie’s deck have been released in the past 4 months! Accelerating Energy has always been great, and accelerating two Energy every turn was bound to be playable at some point or another. Vikavolt works nicely with Tapu Bulu-GX to keep the a stream going with Nature’s Judgement, while healing eventually with Tapu Wilderness-GX.

With the extra Energy support, Tapu Lele-GX also becomes a real threat, as it could potentially be powered up 2-3 times in the same turn with enough Vikavolt, and while it would be a big Energy commitment, it’s never bad to have it as an option. Tapu Koko SMPR and Drampa-GX also make an appearance as solid back up attackers, though I think Drampa-GX could easily be replaced with Tapu Koko-GX, as it seems to have more synergy with the deck and gives it another offensive GX attack option.

Likeliness to see this deck in Mexico City? The novelty factor plus the fact that all the Pokémon are readily available from the last 2 sets make this a very attractive option. It even already showed up at the League Cup this past weekend before the Regional, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Vikavolt/Tapu-Bulu GX have a significant showing in both numbers and results.

Alolan Ninetales-GX

Pokémon – 14

4 Alolan Vulpix GRI

4 Alolan Ninetales-GX

2 Tapu Koko SM30

2 Tapu Lele-GX

1 Manaphy-EX

1 Shaymin-EX ROS

Trainers – 33

4 Professor Sycamore

4 N

2 Lysandre

2 Professor Kukui

1 Pokémon Fan Club

1 Hex Maniac

 

4 Ultra Ball

4 Aqua Patch

3 VS Seeker

3 Choice Band

1 Field Blower

 

4 Rough Seas

Energy – 13

9 W

4 Double Colorless

This is Tobias Tesing’s Top 4 list from Birmingham. With a total of 15 Item cards, it’s built pretty well with the idea of making itself Garbodor-proof. It also has extra copies of all the valuable cards such as N and Professor Kukui. The deck ultimately fell to Gyarados, which is interesting, as 2 Tapu Koko PR were apparently not enough to deal with it. Perhaps he was never able to find the Hex Maniac to combine with Tapu Koko in order to deal with the Machoke?

The list seems great, and Fan Club is required over Brigette because of Shaymin-EX. I would consider dropping the second Tapu Koko for Mexico’s metagame due to the lack of Gyarados, and would play a 3rd Lysandre in it’s place.

Likeliness to see this deck in Mexico City? This deck hasn’t been seen at all in any of the Mexican tournaments previous to the Regional but I still think people will want to run this deck simply because of Aqua Patch. The apperance of Metagross-GX in the metagame might put some people off this deck, though.

Gyarados

Pokémon – 13

4 Magikarp EVO

3 Gyarados AOR 21

1 Remoraid BKT 32

1 Octillery BKT

1 Machop GRI 62

1 Machoke GRI

1 Shaymin-EX ROS

1 Tapu Lele-GX

Trainers – 43

4 Professor Sycamore

2 Teammates

1 N

1 Lysandre

1 Professor Kukui

 

4 VS Seeker

4 Ultra Ball

4 Puzzle of Time

4 Rescue Stretcher

3 Trainers’ Mail

3 Choice Band

3 Dive Ball

1 Level Ball

1 Float Stone

1 Special Charge

1 Field Blower

1 Town Map

 

4 Team Magma’s Secret Base

Energy – 4

4 Double Colorless

Alex Dao took back to back tournaments with Gyarados, as he won the Milan Special Event in Europe and then Birmingham Regionals. His Gyarados list included the 1-1 Machoke GRI line, which protects Magikarp from basically every move and Ability out there, and can only be bypassed by a Hex Maniac or Garbotoxin Ability. The deck is pretty straightforward other than the 2 Teammates, a card we usually only see 1-of in this deck.

It’s not built to directly counter Garbodor, as you can very easily trade 1 vs 1 with them and simply snipe any GX or EX they have to bench. Choice Band helped this deck the most, as it now can 1HKO everything relevant, and can even compensate greatly if 1 Magikarp ends up in the prizes.

I would love to see 2 Lysandre in this list, simply because trading Gyarados for a GX/EX puts you very, very far ahead. I reckon I’d drop a Trainers’ Mail for the 2nd Lysandre, mostly to have it more accessible and avoid prize issues.

Likeliness to see this deck in Mexico City? Extremely unlikely that we will see even 10 of this deck. Not because people don’t like it, but the scarcity of Team Magma’s Secret Base is very real, as I don’t even think the set made it’s way over here. I know of very few people who even own a complete set of the Stadium. With it being so scarce, though, people might not tech against it, and thus could potentially have a strong showing.

Volcanion-EX/Turtonator-GX

Pokémon – 13

4 Volcanion STS

3 Volcanion-EX

2 Turtonator-GX

2 Tapu Lele-GX

1 Staryu BKP

1 Starmie EVO

Trainers – 33

4 Professor Sycamore

4 N

3 Lysandre

1 Olympia

1 Fisherman

1 Delinquent

 

3 VS Seeker

3 Ultra Ball

3 Choice Band

2 Float Stone

2 Field Blower

2 Switch

 

4 Brooklet Hill

Energy – 14

14 R

This is Azul’s “slow” Volcanion-EX, which uses a very different draw engine in Brooklet Hill to set up Volcanion. Starmie EVO finally makes it into the Standard version of the deck (as it had previously done so in the Expanded Volcanion-EX decks) in order to provide a constant stream of energy. A very healthy assortment of Supporter cards and a low Item count made this deck a very solid play in a Garbodor heavy metagame.

This is especially true because Choice Band and Steam Ups allow Turtonator-GX to take 1HKOs on even then 240 Vikavolt-GXs. Despite Delinquent being a very effective card, I don’t think it punishes better players enough to justify using it, so I would definitely drop that for the 4th VS Seeker in this list.

Likeliness to see this deck in Mexico City? It is extremely likely that we will see this deck show up in big numbers at the Regional. Many people found Volcanion-EX to be a good, powerful, and easily accessible deck, and it doesn’t require too many updates with the newer sets. I reckon we won’t be seeing too many of this non-Max Elixir version, but I would definitely expect to play at least 2-of some sort of Volcanion during the early rounds.

Darkrai-EX/Yveltal XY

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Did you miss me?

Pokémon – 10

4 Darkrai-EX BKP

3 Yveltal XY

2 Tapu Lele-GX

1 Sudowoodo GRI

Trainers – 35

4 Professor Sycamore

4 N

4 Lysandre

1 Pokémon Fan Club

 

4 Ultra Ball

4 Max Elixir

4 Exp. Share

4 Choice Band

2 VS Seeker

 

4 Altar of the Moone

Energy – 15

15 D

This is Nico Alabas’s Top 8 list from Birmingham, though very similar lists have been showcased by the Schulz brothers over in Europe. The extra-high Energy count, full set of Exp. Share, and full complement of Choice Band are great to keep up this deck’s damage output extremely high, along with Altar of the Moone conserving energy through retreating. I absolutely love that the only 2 1-ofs are Sudowoodo, a very specific tech, and Fan Club, a 1 time use card.

All of the essentials are at 4 other than Tapu Lele-GX, VS Seeker and Yveltal XY. Since M Rayquaza probably won’t be showing up in Mexico, I reckon dropping the Sudowoodo for a Rescue Stretcher would be a really good idea to get a 5th Darkrai to amass Energy on the Bench or an extra Tapu Lele-GX to grab a game-winning Lysandre.

Likeliness to see this deck in Mexico City? Darkrai-EX was heavily played prior to Guardians Rising so I do expect people to update their deck and stick with it, especially with the Birmingham results indicating that it can still compete at the highest level. I foresee a decent amount of Darkrai-EX based decks to be played in Mexico.

What about Garbodor?

There’s one obvious missing deck from this lineup, and that is, of course, Garbodo. That’s the one deck that I can certainly guarantee will have a big showing and will still be the metagame’s focus. We saw Madison and Birmingham players adapt, but we also saw that in Santiago (Chile), Garbodor still dominated. With the hype it got off of the Seattle results, I am certain this will still be the deck to beat in Mexico City this weekend.

I hope you guys enjoyed this extensive results analysis and preview of what to expect in Mexico City. If you’re rooting for me and want to see how I do, check out my social media on my profile so you get the latest and juiciest from this weekend’s event! Thanks for reading, and until next time!


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